For the hundreds of thousands of Brits stranded abroad because of the Coronavirus, there is finally some good news today. The Government has announced that it has struck a deal with the airline industry enabling it to get all those stranded abroad, back to the UK. If you are currently stranded abroad, or have friends/loved ones that are stranded, here’s the key points that you need to know:
If you have a pre-booked flight ticket for a cancelled flight
The Foreign Secretary has made it clear that the airline you have a ticket with will be responsible for getting you home. That means offering alternative flights (even if it is with an alternative airline) at little to no cost, where routes have been cancelled. This is also the obligation placed upon airlines under EC261, the aviation law which covers cancelled flights when the flight departs or arrives at an EU location.
If you do not have a pre-booked ticket, or have received no alternative route home
To assist the thousands of Brits in this situation, Government has partnered with Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Titan Airways (and it says British Airways will also soon join in), and organised for these carriers to provide private charter flights. Whilst you will have to pay for tickets on these flights, Government has allocated up to £75 million in financial support to assist with this, and to keep the cost of these tickets to a minimum.
Government has issued the following guidelines for those who need a charter flight:
“British tourists stranded abroad who want to return to the UK should first check if there are commercial routes available by visiting the airline websites, FCO travel advice pages for the country they are in and local British embassy social media.
If there are no commercial options, they should visit the travel advice pages and sign up to alerts for their location and follow embassy social media and email updates. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email. British nationals will be asked to register their interest through our booking agents CTM.
Where people are in real need, our consular teams will work with them to consider their options. As a last resort, the Foreign Office will offer an emergency loan.”